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July 23, 2016
Bishop Peggy Johnson announces new pastoral
appointments or assignments:  

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the following clergy appointments or assignments, effective  July 1, 2016  unless otherwise noted.

Northeast District
The Rev. William J. Kuntze (Retired Elder) from Wind Gap: First UMC to Cherry Lane UMC, effective  August 1, 2016.

Latino PATH 1 trainees graduate today
About 16 Latino future church planters will complete the 10th and final class of their PATH 1 training and then celebrate their graduation at Nuevo Nacimiento (New Birth) UMC in Lebanon. The academy, a first-time effort by the Latino Commission, included classes on Wesleyan Lifestyle, Ministry Multiplication, Christian Stewardship and other key topics. Graduates will be commissioned today and sent forth to eventually help cultivate new faith communities.
Mission u in session today
UMW-sponsored Mission u is in session this weekend, educating and engaging learners in global mission.. Attendees are learning about climate justice, Latino America and what the Bible says about human sexuality. The academy ends today, as organizers experiment with a new two-day format.

Arch Street UMC begins Freedom School today
Arch Street UMC in downtown Philadelphia ( 55 N Broad St.) is also teaching today, as it begins its version of the Freedom School, recalling the creative grassroots programs that taught black young people in the 1960s Civil Rights movement the "art and spirit of resistance and the strategies of peaceful, non-violent protest." Attendees will view and discuss the film "From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?" with its co-producer, the Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, and his son Dale Caldwell, both busy advocates for justice. There will be more of the "Know You're Rights" training the church has hosted in recent weeks. And favorite musicians Mark Miller and the Rev. Lydia Munoz will perform and lead movement songs from Miller's recent book,
Roll Down Justice: Sacred Songs and Social Justice. Learn more... 

Churches offer witness for peace, protest during DNC 

Arch Street UMC will be deeply engaged in social action during next week's Democratic National Convention, as it invites faith leaders to gather each morning in a witness of prayer and presence on behalf of convention-goers and protestors. "We will have a time of meditation and prayer centering on peace," writes the Rev. Robin Hynicka, pastor, "a brief training in peacemaking, and opportunities to be a peaceful presence in the streets." If you can commit to participate on any day just sign up online. E-mail Hynicka at with any questions.
In addition, Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (18th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway,) will host an interfaith prayer service for the nation the day the Democratic Convention begins, on Monday, July 25, at 2 PM. The Philadelphia Liturgical Institute, an ecumenical foundation and sponsor, invites people of all faiths to "come pray together at this critical moment in the history of our nation and ask for the favor of God" upon the nation and world.
Wall That Heals comes to Brandywine July 28

Hopewell UMC will co-host The Wall That Heals, a 250-foot replica of the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be installed for viewing from July 28 to 31, at East Brandywine Community Park, 440 Dilworth Road, Downingtown. The church and the East Brandywine Township, co-will sponsor the exhibit and an opening ceremony at the site to celebrate its significance on Thursday, July 28, at 6:30 PM. The stark exhibit of dark panels, engraved with the names of U.S. fallen Vietnam War heroes, inspires an emotional, often cathartic experience for many visitors. It will be open for viewing day and night.  For more information go to or
Read all about NEJ Conference, or see it for yourself

Check out our website for plenty of coverage--seven articles--from last week's exciting 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Included are personal, revealing reflections by some of our delegates.
Next week we'll add one more article and a word from our Bishop, who looks back and then forward as we begin another quadrennium.
In the meantime, you can watch the NEJ  Conference's three days of plenary meetings, debates, reports, worship, episcopal election balloting and presentations on the conference's live-stream recording which will be available on the NEJ website for the next month. Learn more...
Academy for Laity registration extended to August 3
Classes are filling up, but you can still register for the 33rd Academy for Laity until August 3. The disciple-making academy will be at The Inn at Reading (1040 North Park Toad, Wyomissing, PA), August 13-14, on a new two-day schedule to offer lower costs and greater convenience for students.
Dean Aubrey Bates extended the registration deadline but says the "Basic Course in Preparing Local Church Servants" and "Speaking 1: Preaching to be Heard" are both filled and a few others are filling up. Still available are: "Theology and Doctrine," "Making Every Prayer Count," "Emotional Intelligence" and  several more mind-expanding, soul-enriching courses. See the full list with course descriptions and register online today.
The Academy for Laity is open to all who wish to serve Christ in ministry. The 2016 theme is "Follow that Star: Make It Happen." Don't miss this valuable opportunity to change your life and your ministry.  Learn more...
Church starts young adult mentoring ministry 
"You Called?"   is Arch Street UMC's new mentoring program for young adults discerning a call to ministry. This is a year-long, part-time program for young adults ages 18 to 25, which provides work in a specific social justice context, one-on-one mentoring sessions, trainings, and a nurturing community with the peer group of six participants. The program design is ideal for participants who are also working or enrolled in classes in the Philadelphia area. You can find more information, as well as printable and online applications  on our website. The application deadline is July 31. If you have any questions, contact Rachel Ternes, Missionary and Organizer at Arch Street UMC at ­­­ .
Pocono Plateau honored among 'Camps that Change
The World'
Pocono Plateau was recently one of eight camps in Pennsylvania recognized by The Center for Faith and Service in its Class of 2016 "Camps That Change The World." The Center, based at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, publishes a list annually that features both faith-based and secular camps around the country. "Summer camps have a defining place in our culture," said Wayne Meisel, Executive Director, explaining that the awards "seek to lift up, celebrate, and support these transformative institutions."  The complete list of Summer Camps that Change the World, Class of 2016 can be found on The Center's website
Wellspring  of valuable health info awaits you
The Summer 2016 edition of Wellspring, a seasonal health ministry newsletter of the Eastern PA Conference's Health & Healing Council, is now viewable on our website. Page 1 reports the fascinating results of the council's Health Survey 2016, to which 570 persons, mostly pastors, responded, representing 161 churches. Aging congregations was the top health concern named; and stress management classes was one of the top ministries desired, with about a dozen more answers in each category. 

Plus there are helpful articles on mental illness, beating the scorching summer heat, one church's effective healing prayer ministry, a summer reading list of books to promote spiritual health of children, and more. Log on, read on and pass on this valuable publication today!
Hopewell's Planting Seeds event set for Oct. 22
Planting Seeds for Ministry Growth , presented by Hopewell UMC, Downingtown, PA, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, from 2 to 6:30 PM.  This year's focus is Kingdom Building, with keynote speaker and workshop presenter Reggie McNeal.  

Dr. McNeal, a widely respected author and speaker on the church and its future, will address "Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church-and What We Should Do Instead."  Additional workshops will be led by the Rev. David Woolverton (St. Mark's UMC, Mount Joy), and Dr. Peter Loedel (West Chester University).  Online registration for the event will open in August at  For more information, contact Deb Boyd at Learn more...

Engaging young people about racism

(UMNS) - Young People's Ministries, a division of Discipleship Ministries, will convene a gathering on July 28-30 to identify more effective ways to resource the church for conversations with young people about racism. The Racism Gathering will bring young African-American leaders and allies from each of the five U.S. jurisdictions together at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas, to create an action plan for more effective and additional resourcing on the topic of racism. Read press release
UM Day at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Saturday, August 20, we'll  al l journey 
to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom for our annual United Methodist D ay, to enjoy thrilling rides, musical performances and other exciting activities, or to just relax with families and friends. Tickets are only $34, which is a $23 discount, with the UM Day coupon.   A portion of the proceeds benefits the United Methodist Men's ministries. Download the Flyer!  [PDF]
Download the Coupon!  [PDF]  Valid all day August 20.  Learn more ...
Helping men to prevent domestic violence
"If you see something, do something." Hopewell UMC will host a free training to help men stop domestic violence when they witness or know about it. This Where Do You Stand?   conversation, Saturday, August 6 , from 1 to 3 PM,focuses on "bystander intervention" and targets, but is not limited to, college-age young men. It positively portrays  young men as vital allies and invites all men to consider their own stance on men preventing sexism and sexual assault. Visit  to register. E-mail Pastor Amy Banka at for more details.  Download the Flyer  [PDF]
Campus Ministry Sunday, Aug. 21
The Eastern PA Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry invites congregations to celebrate Campus Ministry Sunday Aug. 21 by highlighting the importance of c hurch and campus ministries that involve and impact college and university students. The board works with campus ministers primarily at four schools in its bounds: Drexel, Millersville, Lebanon Valley Christian College and Albright College. But it is exploring relationships with other institutions also. Please plan to receive a Campus Ministry Sunday special offering on or near Aug. 21. and remit at least half of it to the Conference Treasurer's Office to help in our supportive outreach to college and university students. More information will be forthcoming. 
Coming attractions...   
Conference Laity Retreat, Sept. 17
Save the date and get ready for the 2016 Eastern PA Conference Laity Retreat on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Jarrettown UMC in Dresher, PA, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM, including lunch. The registration fee will be $25 and includes retreat materials and meals. Come for the blessing of great speakers, spirit-­filled worship and fellowship, relaxation, revival and renewal. The theme: "Perceiving,  Believing and Receiving Our Blessedness." Sponsored by the Board of Laity.

Radical Disciple-Making Seminar, Oct. 8

Bishop Peggy Johnson encourages churches to take advantage of a dynamic discipleship training opportunity, the Radical Disciple-Making Seminar, hosted by Thorndale UMC on  Saturday, Oct. 8, from 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM.  The seminar will be led by the Effective Church Group, directed by renowned church growth author, coach and discipleship development expert Bill Easum. It will offer practical strategies and profound insights to teach participants how every church can grow to become a radical disciple-making force for Jesus Christ. Read Bishop Johnson's letter and visit the seminar website to find out more. If you have any further questions contact the Rev. Mark Moore of Thorndale Church at
Bishop's Days on the Districts
NW District--Sept. 27; SE District--Oct. 3; SW District--Oct. 4; Central District--Oct. 17; NE District--Oct. 19; and East District--Oct. 20.  
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs.   If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing Thanks!
Please Save These Dates! 
August 17-20: School of Congregational Development 2016  ("Into the Deep") in Evanston, Illinois. The premier event for equipping conference leaders, clergy, and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year's event is being hosted by the Northern Illinois Conference and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Register here

August 13-14: Academy for Laity, The Inn at Reading
August 21: Campus Ministry Sunday

August 29-31: Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering,   Houston, Texas, Theme: "ONE: Birthing a Worldwide Church."  Learn more...
Sept. 10: Children's Ministry Training Event, West Lawn UMC
Sept. 17 Laity Retreat 

Oct. 1: Adjourned Session of Annual Conference, Bethany UMC Wescosville

Oct. 8: Radical Discipleship Workshop, led by Bill Easum, at Thorndale UMC. Save the date and don't miss it! More info coming.

Oct. 28-30 2016: Changing Racism Training,  at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.  Register online . The cost is $300.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403
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